Mogadishu: Somali Islamist militants al Shabaab attacked the main African Union peacekeeping base in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, a spokesman for the group said.
Sporadic gunfire could be heard from inside the compound, a Reuters photographer said. A Western diplomat inside the base said the compound walls had not been breached. AU officials could not be reached for comment.
"Our fighters have entered AU`s Halane base by force through the gate and now fighting is going on inside the base," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab`s military operation spokesman, said.
The AU base is on the edge of the Mogadishu international airport compound, which has a tight security cordon and blast walls. It is also used as a base for U.N. operations in Somalia. The airport area also houses the British and Italian embassies.
Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the United Nations in Somalia, said all U.N. staff were safe and accounted for.